Chris Amato is an outdoor enthusiast and traveler with a passion for marketing. He is a self-taught photographer and videographer based out of North Georgia.
A. I was living in an apartment just north of Atlanta paying $1,200 for rent every month. This was a huge waste because most of my days were spent mountain biking and doing photo/video work; the apartment was really just a place to rest my head at night. It didn't really make sense to me, so I broke my lease and converted my truck into a home-on-wheels. Since my work is primarily freelance, I was able to plan my travels in-between projects. The journey was primarily a solo trip, but I met up with friends and family along the way. The best part about traveling is always the people you meet while on the road, and I still keep up with a lot of them.
A. Life on the road is spectacular. There's nothing like it. Exploring and experiencing new cultures is a passion of mine, and every day was an adventure in a new world. It was a great method of self-discovery - something I learned to appreciate greatly. What was most exciting was how unpredictable it was - rarely knowing where I was going to sleep, who I was going to meet, or where I'd be headed to next. It changed my whole outlook on life.
A. What surprised me the most was how many people were doing the same thing - traveling long-term around the country taking it one day at a time. I must have met a couple dozen “van-lifers” at least - a lot of photographers and other artists who could work remotely on the road. Some were even ex-lawyers and engineers - they just saved up and lived on the road. It was awesome.
A. Definitely true - we all seemed to have a hint of hippie spirit in us. I'm always out exploring, but it would be awesome to head out on a large scale trip again. It's always in the back of my mind - just a matter of planning and execution. I never made it to the Pacific Northwest; that's next on the list.
A. The first thing that comes to mind is a social theory called the Mismatch Theory. It’s based on the idea that humans in modern civilizations are living in an environment that is totally different than the environment that they were intended to live in. In advanced cultures (like America), a lot of people do not have to physically work for food or work with their hands or even move their bodies very much throughout the day. Many neurological and physical processes go untapped because they are no longer "needed”, and it often leads to poor mental and physical health. In my opinion, to honor your wild, you have to tap into your primitive hard-wiring whenever you can. I like to get outside, use my body and keep it mobile, eat (relatively) well, and I like to put myself in situations where I have to trust my own judgement.
A. That's a great quote. I definitely buy into the "Have a few things, but make them good things." mentality. I think I get my entrepreneurial spirit from my mom’s side of the family - her six brothers and my grandfather have always had a welcoming attitude towards problem-solving and personal growth. My father is also an engineer, and I’ve learned to appreciate the value of education and resourcefulness from him as well.
A. Thank you! Cameras have always fascinated me. As a kid, my friends and I would make movies with my family’s camcorder, but when point-and-shoot cameras came out, my attention switched to taking photos. I started pursuing photography and videography as a profession 3 years ago, and I thoroughly enjoy it. Shooting photo and video as an art is great, but knowing that my work is used objectively to help businesses grow makes it much more satisfying. My style has been called “organic”, and I think it suits me well. In my mind, it is attributed to the fact that I’m not a fan of posing or much orchestration. When shooting photos or video, my goal is to never contrive or force anything, but let it happen as naturally as possible.
Learn more about Chris's adventures by checking out his website houndcreative.co and following him on Instagram, @houndcreative